Research & Development

Belharra Therapeutics and Genentech join forces for small molecule medicine development

US-based biotech companies Belharra Therapeutics and Genentech have announced a multi year partnership to lead the discovery and development of small molecule medicines in multiple therapeutic areas, including oncology, immune-oncology, autoimmune and neurodegenerative diseases.
The partnership will utilise Belharra’s novel photoaffinity-based, non-covalent chemoproteomics platform to identify “functional and actionable small molecule ligands for protein targets.” These early preclinical activities will be led by Belharra using targets designed by Genentech.
Genentech will then take over the late preclinical and clinical activities, as well as the regulatory development and marketing.
Belharra will receive $80m as an upfront cash payment, will be eligible to receive development, commercial and net sales milestones that could exceed $2bn, and tiered royalty earnings from products created from the partnership.
Jeff Jonker, CEO of Belharra said, “We are excited to work with Genentech and leverage its industry-leading biological acumen to develop novel drug candidates for key therapeutic targets across a range of severe diseases for which patients currently lack adequate treatments. Genentech is long recognised for its dedicated pursuit of groundbreaking science to illuminate the drivers of disease and enable the discovery and development of transformational medicines. This collaboration further underscores the promise of Belharra’s novel platform to advance that cause.”
James Sabry MD PhD, Global Head of Pharma Partnering at Roche commented: “Our collaboration with Belharra gives Genentech access to a drug invention platform that allows us to interrogate important therapeutic pathways and targets that we strongly believe drive disease pathogenesis, but have proven to be inaccessible to conventional approaches. Partnering with early-stage companies like Belharra provides Genentech with yet another way to advance groundbreaking science to discover and develop medicines for patients with serious and life-threatening diseases.”